Mini Adjustment Program Offers Big Benefits to Those New to Blindness

Adaptive living skills taught at BSBP’s Training Center in Kalamazoo

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

January 17, 2019 - Although it’s called a Mini Adjustment Program, it offers big benefits for participants who learn new ways of doing just about everything common to everyday living. Nineteen West Michigan residents new to blindness participated in the adaptive living skills program held recently at the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) Training Center in Kalamazoo.
“The Mini Adjustment Program is an innovative service we provide through BSBP that’s specifically designed for consumers who are new to blindness and who have had minimal skills of blindness instruction,” said BSBP Director Bill Robinson. “The program marks the beginning of rehabilitation for these new clients and their first step toward regaining independence or employment or both. We provide much-needed introductory instruction all over the state to a large number of consumers in a short period of time.”

The intensive five-day overnight program – often referred to as “the Mini” – offers participants a broad range of introductory level classes and instruction in:

  • Orientation and mobility
  • Access technology
  • Braille
  • Communications
  • Adaptive kitchen skills
  • Time and money
  • Managing and administering medications
  • Monitoring glucose levels
  • Handwriting
  • Adaptive computer software
  • Low vision aids

Consumers also have the opportunity to participate in recreational activities including bingo, adaptive games, walking, sewing and crafts, and movie night.

Typically, each program hosts a small group of 20-28 participants. Robinson emphasized that this allows BSBP staff and participants to work closely together to help these individuals develop personal goals and strategies to maintain an active and fulfilled lifestyle. Those goals primarily include independent living and vocational rehabilitation for those who want to return to work. “Consumers also have an opportunity to interact with other individuals who are blind throughout the week, which is so important,” said Robinson.

This sentiment of camaraderie was resoundingly conveyed by recent program participants.

“I was out of my comfort zone and then made a lot of friends who are blind who I will stay in contact with,” said Shelly Martin, who attended the “Mini” at the BSBP Training Center. “I learned confidence and I am coming back.”

“Realizing that we are all blind, but we have coped differently,” said Rick Jones, who also attended the program. “Continuing on, full speed no matter what.”

BSBP offers three “Mini” programs a year at various conference centers and hotels throughout the state. Program dates and locations are determined jointly by BSBP’s regional and training center staff. Earlier this year, a “Mini” took place in Mackinaw City. Generally, the programs run from 3:00 p.m. on Sundays to the following Thursday. Upon arrival, consumers receive orientation to their surrounding environment -- their room and its amenities, and an orientation to the facility. Classes are scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, with evening activities scheduled accordingly. Participants must be over the age of 18. Consumer referrals must contain proof of legal blindness documentation.

BSBP wishes to thank the volunteers and students from the Blindness and Low Vision Studies program at Western Michigan University who provided instruction, along with BSBP field and training center staff. As with any “Mini” held around the state, at least one BSBP staff person is available at all times to provide assistance with any issues should they arise during the five-day itinerary.

The Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living programs described in this press release are funded 78.7 percent through a VR grant from the U.S. Department of Education and 21.3 percent through state funding. Total federal funding for federal fiscal year 2018 was approximately $19,409,613.

For more information about BSBP or the Mini Adjustment Program visit www.michigan.gov/bsbp or call toll-free: 800-292-4200, TTY 888-864-1212. BSBP is a part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). 

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